I am being used as scapegoat – academic who mined Facebook data

I am being used as scapegoat – academic who mined Facebook data

The Guardian reports:

[Aleksandr] Kogan [a Moldovan-born researcher from Cambridge University at the center of Facebook’s data breach] said the scandal raised questions about the business model of social networking companies. Kogan said: “The project that Cambridge Analytica has allegedly done, which is use people’s Facebook data for micro-targeting, is the primary use case for most data on these platforms. Facebook and Twitter and other platforms make their money through advertising and so there’s an agreement between the user of ‘hey, you will get this amazing product that costs billions of dollars to run and in return we can sell you to advertisers for micro-targeting’.”

Kogan also disputed Cambridge Analytica’s claim that he had approached them with the idea.

He said: “That is a fabrication. They approached me; in terms of the usage of Facebook data they wrote the terms of service for the app. They provided the legal advice that this was all appropriate. So I’m definitely surprised by their comments and I don’t think they are accurate.”

He pointed out that it paid up to $800,000 to recruit about 200,000 people to use it. He said: “I have never profited from this in anyway personally. This money was paid mostly … for the participants – each person was paid $3 to $4 (£2.10 to £2.80), so that’s where really the money went.”

Kogan said he was told that the scheme was legal but accepts he should have questioned the ethics of the exercise.[Continue reading…]

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